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Stripes Vault 13 - Gold Dollar
NEWS - July 2015: An agreement has been reached with TMR, so look forward to some future releases!!
This page edited a bit in 2015, reflecting the agreement with TMR which will bring you more records!
Unfortunately there has been a bit of confusion about the
White Stripes / Third Man Records / Live at the Gold Dollar Vault 13 release. The aim here is to correct a
bit of it, and to answer some questions that have been sent to me
recently. The points are numbered, though in no particular
order. I'm sure there are typos and incomplete thoughts,
but... that's the way it goes!
1) This has been referred to as a "soundboard recording," however the recording was made to analog multitrack. A soundboard recording (in my experience) is typically a two channel recording of the mix that is sent to the main PA/amp/speakers for the room. Just different terminology. The result is usually not so great, as this is not the mix you want for a recording. A multi-track recording like this one uses multiple microphones recorded separately. It can be mixed to something close to perfection, depending of course on one's idea of perfection... It is malleable like a studio recording.
2) TMR calls it a "bootleg" on their pages and in the Under the Great White Northern Lights film. Bootleg implies (to me) that it was recorded or released without knowledge or perhaps permission. However, this and a number of other Jack White recordings are (finally) authorized - by TMR and Gold Dollar! (Yay!) All were recorded with permission - and I don't think anybody had any idea that they would eventually become such a commodity.
3) Did Ben Blackwell record any other shows at the Gold Dollar? Well... In case you haven't figured it out... despite the implication in the film, Ben did not record any shows at the Gold Dollar. Ben's only involvement at the Gold Dollar was that he came to most (all?) of Jack's shows and played at a few with Jack and others...
4) Does this mean that there are more recordings and/or better quality? YES! TMR announced Vault 13 at the same time as contacting me about maybe buying the masters - already having made the decision to go "cassette to vinyl" with what they had rather than remixing. Actually the process was "mlutitrack->minidisc->cassette->vinyl" or maybe "multitrack->VHS Hi-Fi->cassette->vinyl" The multi-tracks exist in analog and digital form, though I think the analogs have deteriorated a bit? While I'm afraid to touch the analog tapes at the moment, digitals sound great. While I like my early mixes (and apparently TMR did too), I do admit that better could be done - by me or by others. Typically I was cleaning up the bar or vacuuming or something while I did rough mixes like this one. It was not really meant to be released. Glad people seem to like it! I'll eventually be mixing down more stuff that will be downloadable here.... (non Jack White stuff as all Jack White recordings will be handled by TMR)
5) When are the other shows going to be available? People have been asking me this for years... and finally as of July 2015, I can say... Ask TMR! After a bit of wrangling on both sides, they now have the rights to release my collection of White Stripes recordings. There are some great performances. My only (minor) regret ... Given that we kept cover charges and beer prices low (along with my income) - I do wish things were available in a more affordable format... But then I do appreciate the vinyl and the typically excellent and interesting packaging - so it's a toss up!.
6) Equipment used in recording/mixdown: Cheap microphones for the most part. It was my live setup. Cheapo Audio Technicas and a Shure SM57 or 58 or two. It's about the music! Board was Fostex 450, tape machine was Tascam 238 (8 channel on cassette?!?), outboard was one Alesis Microverb, and maybe a cheap two channel compressor? Or did I get that later? Don't feel like going through all of my (unorganized) notes and photos to figure this one out just yet. Whatever it was, it worked well enough at the time. Early WS shows I used 5-7 channels. Mics were close to all instruments, and I never bothered to set up a room/audience mic, so there is much less of the audience than there should be on a typical live recording. Would be nice to fade in some appreciation every now and then? Ah well... As mentioned earlier, mixed to VHS HI-FI or Minidisc and then copied to cassette... Oh, and the Tascam 238s (I had two of them over the years) had issues of stopping at random moments, which was/is rather annoying. On the plus side, tape was cheap enough that I could record a bit - out of personal interest and not motivated by profit... And having low overhead I could book shows that seemed interesting even if attendance was minimal. Future releases by TMR will be mixed from the digital multitracks - and might be better!
7) Enjoy the music - however it found its way to you! This
is of course more important to me than all the silly business crap
that's going on behind the scenes...